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Franklin County COVID-19 Level Downgraded, Columbus Schools Will Open Up Sports

Aug 27, 2020

Franklin County is no longer a red level threat for coronavirus, according to state health officials, for the first time since the public health advisory system was developed.  

The owngrade has been triggered by a sustained drop in the number of new cases of COVID-19.  At his regular coronavirus press conference, Ohio Governor Mike Dewine noted that Franklin County has been in the red since the the map public health advisory map was launched.   

"We really started seeing a change when the city of Columbus put on a mask order, then we put on a mask order that covered the whole county and other red counties.  That was really the break point, where we started to see the use of masks go up dramatically, and when that use of masks went up dramatically, where you're getting 90% or so, we started seeing a slow down, and then it's starting to come down in the number of cases. "  

The number of daily new cases is half what it was in the beginning of August, and the two-week average has dropped to below 100 per 100,000 residents.  The number of hospitalizations, outpatient visits and emergency room visits  Despite the news, Franklin County still leads the state in the number of COVID-19 cases; a total of 21,133 cases as of today, and it's has the second highest number of deaths in the state, with 556  as of Thursday.

Columbus City Schools are sticking to their coronavirus plan to open the school year remotely, but the district announced that sports - which had been placed on hold earlier this month - will be able to resume as early as this Saturday.  CCS Director of Student Activities Vincent Clarnosays details still need to be worked out:

Clarno says sports teams have a head start on other extricurricular activities - coaches and students began working together over the summer, before the district suspended all student activities August 14th:

As clarified this week, the state public health order limits spectators at high school sporting events to family of students involved.  Seating will be limited to 15-hundred people or 15 percent of fixed, permanent seating capacity at outdoor events. For indoor events it's 300, or 15 percent of capacity, with six foot social distance between family groups.